Can Alaskan Malamutes Swim? (Explained and Helpful Guide)

Can Alaskan Malamutes Swim

Alaskan Malamute’s are considered a year-round outdoor dog. For an Alaskan Malamute, that indicates they enjoy outdoor play, jogging, weight-pulling, sledding, and you guessed it – swimming.

But can Alaskan Malamutes swim? Yes, Alaskan Malamutes can swim! In fact, an Alaskan Malamute likes the water and tends to thrive in cool temperatures. The only point to remember is Alaskan Malamutes are not natural-born swimmers, which means the owner must invest time training them to swim.

If your Alaskan Malamute doesn’t particularly enjoy swimming right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it in the future. With consistency, positive reinforcement, and encouragement, your Alaskan Malamute will become the dog version of Michael Phelps in no time!

How Alaskan Malamutes Swim?

The way Alaskan Malamutes swim is no different than other breeds of dogs; however, only some Alaskan Malamutes know how to swim.

For an Alaskan Malamute beginning to learn how to swim may attempt to wade or hop whilst submerged underwater. Their heads will be raised above the surface whereas the body will be immersed in the water.

This is usually ok as long as they’re in a very shallow pool or paddle pool.

Why Aren’t Alaskan Malamutes Natural Swimmers?

Alaskan Malamutes are considered not natural swimmers. Instead, they are better serviceable on land than in water.

The Alaskan Malamute is an old breed formerly utilized for their strength and endurance. They were found pulling heavy loads and often referred to as a sled dog.

In this day and age, although Alaskan Malamutes can endure chilly and frigid temperatures; That doesn’t make them “natural swimmers”. All it suggests is they can withstand the cold.

If you’re aspiring to adapt your Alaskan Malamute into an Olympic swimmer, be aware that they’ll require ongoing training and adaptation when around water.

To make this happen, ensure you invest adequate time and effort required in providing continuous training while including positive reinforcement and encouragement.

Do Alaskan Malamutes Like Water?

Yes, if exposed as a puppy, then most Alaskan Malamutes will like water. Thus the older an Alaskan Malamute gets, the less likely they are to like water.

Though don’t be mistaken, just because they like water, doesn’t imply they’ll dive into a pool and start swimming- especially if they haven’t had training.

The only way you’ll know if your Alaskan Malamute likes water is by observing for yourself.

Can an Alaskan Malamute Be Taught to Swim?

If you want to teach your Alaskan Malamute to swim, the good news is there is hope.

Despite an Alaskan Malamute not being a natural-born swimmer, you can still teach them to swim.

All that means for you is you’ll need to spend a good deal of time concentrating on training them.

Don’t be discouraged if your Alaskan Malamute is hesitant to learn to swim at first. It can be a nerve-wracking experience.

As long as you continue to enforce positive encouragement, whilst remembering to remain consistent – then your pooch will be a confident swimmer in no time.

What to Do if an Alaskan Malamute is Scared of Water?

If you’re wondering what to do about an Alaskan Malamute being scared of water, you’ll need to introduce water slowly. Don’t rush, expecting them to rid their fear of water instantly.

Here are a few things you can do to help your Alaskan Malamute decrease their fear of water:

  • Allow your dog to roam around water – such as the pool, bath, shower, or sprinklers.
  • Spend a few days strictly focused on getting them used to the presence of water.
  • Prove to your dog that water is safe, and they are protected.
  • If your dog appears stressed, take a break.
  • Keep your dog in a happy mood; Whilst enticing them to play with you in the water. You can do this through the use of:
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Dog Bones
  • Squeaky Balls

If your Alaskan Malamute is scared of water, your job is to serve as support and reassure him (over-time) that there is nothing to fear.

How to Teach Alaskan Malamute to Swim?

Start slowly, allowing your dog to take his first steps into the pool on his own. If your pool does not have steps or a shallow area, gently hold your dog in your arms and slowly enter the pool.

Remember to use a positive tone of voice – reassuring your dog that there’s nothing to fear. If your dog remains reluctant, entice him with a squeaky toy or a treat.

While in the water, your dog will naturally paddle with all fours. You can shadow him by following him with your hands underneath the water.

As he paddles, refrain from touching your dog. The goal is to get him using all of his muscles independently and relying on his strength to keep him afloat.

Remember, Always use a doggy life vest – especially if your dog is not confident around water or has only begun swimming lessons.

What to Keep in Mind When Teaching Your Alaskan Malamute to Swim

Doggie Life Vest

Similar to a human life vest, a doggie life vest is designed to keep your pooch from sinking by keeping their head high enough above water to float.

For dogs learning to swim, it would help to consider purchasing a doggie life vest – which will protect them up until they become confident enough in the water.

Kiddie Pool for Training Puppies

Investing in a kiddie pool for training your Alaskan Malamute puppies is a fail-safe way in adapting them to the joys of water (without the potential of danger).

Simply fill the kiddie pool with cold water and set your Alaskan Malamute puppies inside.

Be sure to talk to them so they don’t get overstressed and allow them to roam about in the water independently.

Using a kiddie pool not only prevents risk associated along with training inside of a swimming pool – but also provides satisfactory outdoor play for them.


You should limit the number of treats you provide your Alaskan Malamute during training.

For example, Instead of giving a treat every minute they stay inside of the pool – provide a treat if they’ve remained in the water for longer than 5 minutes.

Not only will this protect your swimming pool from any unwanted accidents, but it can serve as an example that informs your dog that the longer they stay inside of the water – the more inclined they are to get a treat.

Beware of The Outside Weather

Although taking your Alaskan Malamute for a swim in the warm weather can serve as a fantastic opportunity for exercise, it’s important to remain cautious about the overall temperature outside.

The Alaskan Malamute thrives in cool climates, whereas hot weather creates extreme stress and suffering.

Despite your Alaskan Malamute swimming inside of a pool – water doesn’t stop the rays of the sun soaking into their fur and skin.

If the weather outside seems to be hotter than 85˚F, you may want to reconsider the length of time you allow your pooch to spend outside.

Restrict swimming in hot weather to 10 minutes – whilst remembering to provide plenty of water to drink before and afterward.

Post Swimming Care

Once swimming lessons with your pooch is finished, don’t forget to have an adequate post-swimming routine.

Here are some tips for post swimming care:

  1. Adapt your dog to the exits of the pool – this way they can safely find the way to exit the pool on their own
  2. Rinse your dog off one final time to remove chlorine
  3. Pat your dog dry
  4. Clean his ears thoroughly to avoid moisture buildup
  5. Praise your dog for his efforts in the pool
  6. Reward with a doggy treat and lots of affection

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